The Minister and the education officials have missed a point
Stabroek News
March 2, 2002

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Dear Editor,

It was reported in today's SN that Minister of Education Henry Jeffrey said that his office would circulate guidelines for corporal punishment. It is a disgrace that the Ministry of Education will continue to encourage and sanction the abuse of the power of its teachers to use violence against children. In no other sector of our society even in the criminal justice system where judges rarely recommend flogging sentences is violence against powerless individuals sanctioned, and yet the

Minister of Education would seek to have schools be places adults could inflict violence on children for punishment.

The Minister of Education and his officials have missed a point, despite our history of violence inflicted on us as children we are still a poor country, with many illiterate people, with a high crime rate and with increased lawlessness especially among young people and adults, many of whom were beaten as children. Surely the Minister and his colleagues could discuss alternatives with teachers and former teachers who achieved their goals without inflicting violence. He could start with his colleague, Minister Bibi Shadick, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, who has stated publicly many times, that in her experience as a teacher she never had to beat any of her students. President Jagdeo has stated his opposition to inflicting violence against children, and the First Lady as chairperson of the National Commission on the Rights of the Child would be expected to be an advocate for these discussions.

With the increased lawlessness in our society we have to seek innovative ways to ensure children are disciplined and educated many children for a start have few adult role models they could emulate.

Yours faithfully,

Vidyaratha Kissoon